AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

  • Olaf Falafel

    Olaf Falafel

    FATHER CHRISTMAS HEARD A PARP

    HARPERCOLLINS CHILDREN'S BOOKS

    NOVEMBER 2017


    With Christmas around the corner, we've been catching up with stand-up comic and picture book creator Olaf Falafel to talk about Father Christmas, Old Macdonald and special Christmas parps!

    Father Christmas Heard a Parp takes us through Santa's special North Pole setting as he tries to discover who - or what - is making those strange sounds...

    We asked OLAF FALAFEL to tell us more about FATHER CHRISTMAS HEARD A PARP:


    Q: You often introduce yourself as 'Sweden's eight funniest comedian' - are you really Swedish?

    A: I'm actually half-Swedish, half-Danish, half-Norwegian - and my favourite dishwasher tablets are Finish


    Q: What were you doing before you started in stand-up comedy?

    A: I worked in a retirement home, I used to love playing Jenga with the old folk but it was very difficult to get them to lie flat and balance on top of each other.


    Q: What sparked the idea for your first picture book, Old MacDonald Heard a Parp?

    A: The idea for Old MacDonald Heard a Parp came to me when I was trying to come up with ideas for child-friendly stand up (I quite often gig for Comedy Club 4 Kids).

    I started singing it to my kids on the way to school and we did all the different noises, before long it had spread round the playground. When the dinner ladies banned the kids from singing it I knew that I had to make it into a book somehow.


    Q: Why have you also set your latest picture book, Father Christmas Heard a Parp, to the Old MacDonald song?

    A: I kept the old MacDonald rhyme in there this time to give a link back to my first book but if you read the new Father Christmas book you'll notice that the rhyme does change towards the end to 'The Night Before Christmas'.


    Q: How long did it take to find out how to make all the different 'parps'?

    A: We had great fun making all the different parps - we spent quite a few walks to school coming up with new ones. I think my favourite is the 'bagpipes' one.


    Q: Which parts of the book do children enjoy the most when you share it with them?

    Q: I've done quite a few events with children and I really enjoy them. My favourite part so far was when I introduced myself as a comedian at an event and one of the children thought that meant I could change colour to match my background!


    Q: What is the best question a child has asked you?

    A: "Are you taller than a house?"


    Q: You have also illustrated these books - have you trained in illustration?

    A: I trained myself, I've been illustrating since I was very young, I remember making my own comics when I was ten years old. I used to get my dad to photocopy it at his work and sell them to the kids at school.


    Q: Which animal is the hardest to draw?

    A: Let's just say that it's no coincidence there are no armadillos in my books...


    Q: Do your Farmer and Father Christmas look a little like you..?

    A: Now you come to mention it, they are both quite handsome, aren't they?


    Q: There are lots of funny moments for children to spot within your illustrations - which is your favourite detail?

    A: I think the Nirvana Nevermind album cover re-enacted by a duck and some bread on the horse's stable is a favourite (and also the Jurassic Pork poster from the same drawing).


    Q: Where do you go to work on your books?

    A: When it comes to the illustration side of things, I have a studio at home with all of my art stuff in it - although it doubles as a dining room so it's very rarely quiet.


    Q: Will there be another picture book based around the Old MacDonald song or are you working on something else?

    A: Ooooh that would be telling, I've got a few ideas for non-parp related books that I'd like to do for my next one but you'll have to wait and see!


    Q: What are you looking forward to the most this Christmas?

    A: I'm really looking forward to eating lots of sprouts and making my own parp noises. They've been slowly boiling since September so they should be just like my mum used to do them come Christmas Day....